Our Chief Executive Faisal Hussain was recently invited to take part in a podcast with Consumer Friends, a collective of Trading Standards professionals, who are instigating a consumer education movement across many areas, including energy efficient home improvements and retrofit. As the podcast says at the beginning, it can be a daunting proposition for homeowners when they start to choose solutions and technology after getting their home’s EPC rating. This podcast focuses on the three most popular areas of renewables at the moment: solar panels, heat pumps and battery storage.
Faisal agrees that the biggest interest for homeowners looking to become energy independent, centres on solutions that offer the easiest and quickest way to generate and store energy, and ultimately satisfy consumers’ biggest requirement when it comes to renewables: to reduce energy bills. The podcast presenters asked for a definition of energy independence which Faisal explained is where a consumer does not need to receive any type of energy from the grid because they are generating and consuming their own energy.
Help is at hand
The discussion then moved on to the psychology of retrofit and the drivers and incentives. The panel asked how many people understand exactly what the pros and cons of different retrofit solutions are, commenting that these questions are not made easier to answer thanks to – as the presenters put it – so much ‘technical jargon.’ To help navigate this, Faisal suggested a four step approach that every consumer considering renewable retrofits should take:
1 – Look at your annual energy bills and work out exactly what you’re consuming.
2 – Understand your tariff and price per energy unit.
3 – Do your own research about what and who is out there, but don’t feel you need to understand the difference between, for example, the eight different types of heat pumps that are available.. Remember we can’t all be experts.
4 – Take this data to accredited installers who can then suggest the best solution for your property that offers the biggest savings.
With a rise in scammers diving into the retrofit space and offering homeowners renewable deals that are too good to be true, the podcast then focused on the importance of using vetted, certified and Trustmark accredited installers, like HIES members who operate to a strict code of conduct. Faisal concluded with the reminder that any homeowner looking for independent advice can just pick up the phone or email HIES to contact their Renewable Energy Advice Service.
Consumer Friends commented: “We’re really grateful to Faisal for joining us to help us broaden the advice we can offer our listeners, as well as giving practical, top tips about how to approach retrofit projects. It’s such a big topic with so many opportunities for learning, we will definitely be inviting Faisal back!”
To listen to the full podcast: https://www.consumerfriend.org.uk/podcasts-1